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Self-Training Possible?
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I travel a lot for work, and my timing with regards to the local Bujinkan group training times often doesn't sync up. I wanted to find a way to train on my own and realised that Stephen Hayes' books might not be enough.

So I bought the Black Belt Home Study Course http://www.blackbeltcourse.com/
Some of you are probably going to laugh, some will be sceptical. I am too. However what I believe is the saving grace in this situation is that you can't actually get the black belt until you test in person. Fair enough. So regardless of the method that the material is learned, the evaluation of skill is the same as any other candidate.

That being said, is this even feasible? What is the general opinion on trying to learn from DVDs? I have taken other martials arts before to some level, Kung Fu, Jujitsu and Aikido, so I have a grasp of footwork, balance, opponent momentum.

I imagine that for someone who has never had any martial arts instruction at all, those nuances could never be gained from a video.

Am I going down a dead end path?

Posted on: 2010/2/22 10:42
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Re: Self-Training Possible?
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I don't think it's a dead end path. I do think it's not going to be as effective as having a training group to work with. The lack of feedback and the lack of a training partner will slow you down, I believe. Also, being on your own is tough. My wife and I have been talking about this a lot , lately, as we both want some fun physical activity but solo work doesn't have the encouragement and accountability of a group. .

If you have the self-discipline to master the material a step at a time, then I think you're on the right path. The advantage is, of course, that you only have to keep up with the slowest person in class. ;)

Given your background in other martial arts might help. That was one goal for me when moving from one art to another; I need to be as open minded as a white belt but as accountable as whatever my highest belt was elsewhere.

THe page says the course combo is USD 579. As long as you get USD 580 equivalent out it; you're ahead of the game!

Leam

Posted on: 2010/2/22 10:59
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Leam Hall
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Re: Self-Training Possible?
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Quote:

RockyH wrote:
That being said, is this even feasible?


I don’t think it is. You need to train with a good teacher at the very least once a week.

Quote:

RockyH wrote:
What is the general opinion on trying to learn from DVDs?


In my opinion these sorts of DVD programs aren’t there to teach you budo but are there to make money for the people producing them. I would only recommend Hatsumi-sensei’s books and videos at this time but even then you still need to train with a good teacher.

Quote:

RockyH wrote:
I have taken other martials arts before to some level, Kung Fu, Jujitsu and Aikido, so I have a grasp of footwork, balance, opponent momentum.


But footwork, balance, distance, etc is a little different than these other forms of budo.

My honest opinion is that if you can’t find a good teacher whose classes you can attend regularly then you are better off finding a good teacher in a different martial art and train there.

Posted on: 2010/2/22 12:12
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Re: Self-Training Possible?
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Hi RockyH,

If you're travelling a lot for work (like I used to) then you also get the opportunity to train with some great guys. You've got a bunch of people to train with in Melbourne, heaps in and around Sydney, great guys in Adelaide, and obviously Duncan Mitchell and Jamie MacAninch in Brisbane. Then if you make it up to Townsville you can train with Greg Hinks. So travelling has its upside. The only downside when you're starting out is rationalising the different way of presenting Kihon when you're training with lots of well grounded practitioners.

Jori

Posted on: 2010/2/22 19:07
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Re: Self-Training Possible?
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Videos only become an excellent aid after you have been exposed to the training. How long and how much before those videos become useful is a different question and one with individual answers. You may be able to take a class on one area then use the videos to aid your self training on that area. After again checking with an instructor of skill on what you have done you would see if you had advanced sufficiency to move to another area where you could repeat the process.
Most of us know that we ALL have lives with other responsibilities that just can't be dropped to learn this art. I believe that ninjutsu should never "become" your life, it should help you live your life better and more fully. There was a small group in Little Rock, AK that had no instructor and no one in the area to teach them. I agreed to come once every 3 months to give them instruction on a specific area which they would also tape. Because they did work very hard on the material between my visits, that group did very well and has really grown. That process was carried out for about 3 years, now they have their own qualified shidoshi and do very well. My point is that you don't need to have your hand constantly held, you do need direction and hands on instruction, but much you can do yourself. The chance to train with many groups during your travels can actually be a big plus for you also and I would recommend that highly. I will be in Sydney from 15 March to 21 March this year and if I can help you while there let me know.

Posted on: 2010/2/22 21:27
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Re: Self-Training Possible?
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Thank you for the valuable information. I see the opinions vary as I would expect them to. The message is clear though, make sure I get live, in-person training whenver and whereever possible. Any DVDs or other materila would be supplemental to that.

Of course this is what I knew all along. I suppose I was hoping to stem my own feelings of concern about it.

Papa-san I will probably be in Sydney in March at some point and will look you up. I know I'll be in Melbourne and Brisbane in the near future. I will make sure and visit the locals while I am there.

Posted on: 2010/2/22 22:01
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Re: Self-Training Possible?
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Good there are a lot of excellent instructors in Australia.

Posted on: 2010/2/23 8:05
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Re: Self-Training Possible?
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well fortune intrudes on life again. I got sent to the US for work so I will miss yoru trip to Sydney Papa-San. hopefully our paths will cross in the near future.

Posted on: 2010/3/11 15:20
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Re: Self-Training Possible?
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Quote:

Papa-san wrote:

After again checking with an instructor of skill on what you have done you would see if you had advanced sufficiency to move to another area where you could repeat the process.


This, to me, is the biggest driver for belt rankings in the "White/Green/Black" pattern. At White belt the student needs to learn the basics, control, and safety. At Green belt they focus on the techniques and get a glimpse of the thought process. At Black the student really becomes a student and has enough background to start getting the "why" behind the "what", and to be tasked by the teacher to go study things and integrate them with the individual.

I have no knowledge of the 5th Dan and above thought processes, so my assumption is that while a 1st-4th Dan is trusted to learn for themselves, a 5th and above is trusted to help others learn. Of course, my assupmtions could be totally off-base. :)

Quote:

Most of us know that we ALL have lives with other responsibilities that just can't be dropped to learn this art. I believe that ninjutsu should never "become" your life, it should help you live your life better and more fully.


And that may be part of what Dale's page refers to; 70%-80% of the training happens outside the dojo. Dale, please correct me if I'm wrong.

The issue for distant students, I think, is knowing when to transition from one part of traning to the next. With a teacher you can get some feedback on "you have that bit right, but you need more work here". Technique or mentality.

As you can tell, I'm still working on this...

Leam


Posted on: 2010/11/10 21:23
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Leam Hall
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Re: Self-Training Possible?
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Quote:

Leam wrote:
I have no knowledge of the 5th Dan and above thought processes, so my assumption is that while a 1st-4th Dan is trusted to learn for themselves, a 5th and above is trusted to help others learn. Of course, my assupmtions could be totally off-base. :)


A commonly misunderstood notion is that passing the godan test automatically makes one a shidoshi. This is not true. Being a shidoshi is a separate process AND responsibility and it is purely a personal choice. One could just be a godan and above without technically being a shidoshi and there are some who have made that choice.

My interpretation is simple - continue training as you are taught and let your sensei recognize you with rank promotion. When he/she feels you are ready for the sakki test, the recommendation will be made and the test will be given to you. But, you are still trusted to learn for yourself. In fact, it becomes even more critical to either attend Soke's classes at least yearly or train regularly with those who do. The more you can build that connection to "the source" the more you evolve correctly. That really should be the paramount focus for all ranks, but especially at 5th dan and above. This requires personal responsibility, personal commitment and personal sacrifice. You have to keep pursuing your own path. That should never change, whether shidoshi/sensei or deshi.

If you are unable to train with a shidoshi, then the only thing that changes is the rank recommendation. Continue to train as you were taught and make getting to a shidoshi or to Japan your focus to "connect". No Home Study Courses, YouTube How-To's, or anything else that is less than direct teaching. Just keep training on what you have been taught. The rest will happen if you keep striving for it.

At least that's been my belief...

Posted on: 2010/11/11 0:32
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